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It’s commonly known that spending time outdoors is good for our health — both mental and physical. Sunlight, fresh air, and greenery do great things for us, like lowering blood pressure and reducing stress levels. It improves cognitive function, helps relieve anxiety, and generally makes us feel happier.

But we can’t always get outside. In the winter, it might be too cold or snowy. Or maybe it’s hurricane season and it’s been raining for a week straight. Or you’re stuck inside recovering from a broken leg. Why not bring nature indoors with you, so you can enjoy the benefits all year long? Here are some “indoor” nature ideas. Be sure to engage multiple senses to get a more immersive effect!

green life

The easiest way to bring nature indoors is to do just that — bring in living greenery like houseplants and flowers to stimulate your sense of sight and smell. There are endless options here. Go big with tall potted plants, or go small with tiny plants in mini terrariums that can line a windowsill or bookcase. The scent of fresh flowers is always pleasing. If you’re adventurous you can even have a vertical garden on the wall. Choose low-maintenance varieties that don’t need much watering if you don’t want to spend a lot of time tending to your plants. 

visions of nature

Beyond live plants, you can use visual cues and reminders in your decor. Photographs or paintings of flowers, parks, and natural scenery are one example. Pictures of patterns often seen in nature or that evoke these patterns can be calming, like rings of water, or the lines and veins in a leaf. You can also hang up nature-patterned wallpaper or things that used to be alive like dried flowers, which have their own beauty. 

natural materials

Decorating with natural materials or organic textures engages your sense of touch. Many like the look and feel of unpolished or unvarnished wood, like in a dining table. Others include stone, rattan furniture, seashells, or living metals like copper that change over time. 

water and sound

The sounds you hear around you can really evoke strong feelings too. Listening to the sound of water, like waves crashing or a babbling brook, can be very calming. A small fountain or water feature is one way to bring these sounds into your home. Or, have an aquarium filled with colorful fish and sea life, for the visual of a dreamy existence. Listening to audio recordings of different nature sounds can help you get to sleep or just provide tranquil background noise.

There are many other ways to bring nature inside in addition to these. But one thing to keep in mind is that while you build a calming living environment for yourself inside, don’t let it replace actual time outside. Enjoy the great outdoors!

Sources: New York Times; Wall Street Journal 


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